“A brilliant send-up of the ‘white tribe’ in Africa, featuring a larger-than-life Beryl Markhamlike figure . . . and the son who can’t flee from her shadow fast enough.” Vanity Fair
My Mother's Lovers
978-0-8021-4373-0 • $15.00 • Paperback • Aug. 2008
Once it seemed to Kathleen Healey that Africa was empty and all of it belonged to her. An aviator, big game hunter, and knitting devotee, she would land her plane wherever and whenever she chose. She was free with her favors, too, and her multitude of lovers came from all over the world.
In this moving and lyrical novel, Booker finalist and Whitbread winner Christopher Hope has crafted a female character as electrifying, and as alarming, as Africa itself. Kathleen Healey is passionate, comic, and cruel by turns, and strides across the continent from Cape to Cairo in seven-league boots. When she dies, her only son, Alexander, returns to Johannesburg to carry out her final wishes. Her legacy, which he must deliver in person, includes a cache of firearms for a former apartheid enforcer, a wig that once belonged to a Liberian boy soldier, and her knitting needles, which he must present to Bamadodi, the Rain Queen. What he inherits is her house and her gardener who, like Alexander, is also an exile. But when he meets Cindy September and she moves into his home, Alexander must confront the final part of his mother’s legacyhis capacity for love.
Bitingly funny, outrageously inventive, and peopled with a fantastical cast of characters, My Mother’s Lovers shows how the hunger to be loved and to belong affects us all.